Falcons domination

BURBANK — For the members of the Crescenta Valley High boys' swimming team, Thursday's Pacific League final meet was about more than just beating the swimmers in the adjacent lanes — which the Falcons accomplished handily in winning all 11 events.

This star-studded rendition of the perennial league power had its sights set on chasing down history and that meant racing against the league's best of the best from years past, as well.

"They wanted to make a statement not only that they were the best team this year, but that they were the best team in the history of the Pacific League," Crescenta Valley boys' Coach Jan Sakonju said.

By the time the waters had settled at Burbank High, the Falcons had performed an extensive rewrite on the league's record book, breaking marks in seven total events and coming within four tenths of a second of an eighth in the day's final event, the 400-yard freestyle relay, all while easily outpacing second-place Arcadia, 548-335.

"To be able to break that many [league records] all in one day really shows how much talent our top-level guys have," Sakonju said, "and that point difference just shows how deep the talent runs."

Crescenta Valley's girls' team once again quietly asserted its depth and versatility in posting its own wide margin of victory with 538 points to the Apaches' 365 despite claiming just two first-place finishes on the day.

"It's kind of been our trademark, we didn't have a lot of first places, but we had a lot of depth and lot of points," Falcons girls' co-Coach Pete Loporchio said. "They understand the importance of relying on each other and coming together as a team."

The Falcons boys' and girls' squads both finished as outright league champs by virtue of Thursday's wins after already having clinched at least a share of their 19th and fourth straight league titles, respectively, at the dual-meet finale at Arcadia on April 27.

Crescenta Valley's boys' core trio of junior Louis Wojciechowski and sophomores Young Tae Seo and Harrison Thai now have their names in well over half the events in the league record book, as all three doubled and broke records in individual events and swam on the record-breaking 200-freestyle relay team.

Wojciechowski won the 100 butterfly in 49.97 seconds, smashing the pervious mark of 50.59, and the 200 freestyle in 1:39.55 (1:40.71).

"I was really happy with my swims," Wojciechowski said. "The 200 free wasn't my best time, but I was just aiming to go under 1:40."

Seo was a winner in the 500 freestyle in 4:30.61 (4:32.17) and the 100 breaststroke in 58.19 (58.52), while Thai took the 200-individual medley in 1:51.92 (1:54.49) and the 100 backstroke in 51.16 (52.92), also a new school record.

All three said they expect to go faster at the CIF Southern Section Division II finals on May 14, where the Falcons are a contender for the team title after finishing runner up in 2010.

"We were trying to focus on the [200 freestyle] relay," said Seo, who combined to win the event with Wojciechowski, Thai and Josh Chi in 1:26.19, 1.63 seconds under the previous mark, and also good for a new school record. "We're more focused on next week, though."

The Falcons also got wins from Chi in the 50 freestyle in 21.94 and 100 freestyle in 48.07, while Thai, Jake Ksendov, Andrew De Jong and Rusty Blakey captured the 200-medley relay in 1:38.80.

Wojciechowski, Blakey, De Jong and Seo won the 400-freestyle relay in 3:12.46.

"They have a lot to be proud of," Sakonju said. "They really pushed themselves and they were pushed by wanting to make history."

The Falcons girls got first-place finishes from freshman Iva Icheva in the 50 freestyle in 24.85 and senior Adrienne Ingalla in the 100 breaststroke in 1:11.63. Icheva and Ingalla turned in runner-up finishes in the 100 backstroke (1:01.06) and 100 freestyle (56.07), respectively, as did Mackenzie Hobby in the 200-individual medley (2:20.59) and the 500 freestyle (5:36.06).

In relay events, Crescenta Valley's Sabrina Hatzer, Dakota Davy, Rachel Krebsbach and Shelby Gregg finished second in the 200 freestyle in 1:46.80 and Icheva, Hatzer, Davy and Ingalla placed runner-up in the 400-freestyle in 3:47.53.

"There were some ups and downs, but I definitely learned that you can't win them all and I had a fun day," Icheva said. "[Winning the 50 freestyle] just felt really good, I didn't expect that."

Glendale finished sixth in the girls' competition with 124 points and sixth in the boys' competition with 148 points, led by Mickey Mowry's runner-up showing in the 100 butterfly in 52.04 and third-place swim in the 100 backstroke in 56.40.

Hoover scored 81 points on the girls' side and 64 on the boys'.

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